There is no absolute rule that an extra-judicial confession can never be the basis of a conviction: Orissa High Court

An extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence or not, it depends upon the facts of that particular case and it should be examined by the Court with great care and caution. If from the very nature of the confession itself to the person it was made, and under the circumstances, it has been made, the slightest doubt arises to the mind of the Court, then it shall be proper on the part of the Court to proceed with the presumption that the extra-judicial confession, in that case, is a weak piece of evidence by itself. The judgment was passed by The High Court of Orissa in the case of Renta Nag alias Shyam Sundar Nag Vs the State of Odisha [JCRLA No.78 of 2007] by a Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice S. K. Mishra & Justice Savitri Ratho.

The facts of the case are that the appellant and deceased were husband and wife. They were residing together in one house. There was some dispute between the deceased and the appellant in the night for which the appellant murdered the deceased by assaulting her using a crowbar and paniki. Further, the appellant assails his conviction and sentence to suffer imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000, in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a further period of two months under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Learned Counsel for the appellant seriously disputing the finding of the Sessions Judge that it is the appellant and no one else who has murdered the deceased and the Sessions Judge has not appreciated the evidence available on record in its proper perspective and has come to the erroneous conclusion. Pointing out that there is no eye witness to the occurrence, He further, submits that the circumstances established in this case are not fully established and, therefore, there is reasonable doubt regarding the complicity of the appellant in the commission of the crime. He, therefore, urges to allow this appeal and to set aside the conviction and set the appellant free holding him to be not guilty.

Learned Counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, submits that the circumstances of last seen theory and the leading to the discovery of weapon of offence, in this case, have established the prosecution case beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no dispute in this case that the prosecution has not put forth any eyewitness to establish its case. Instead, the prosecution based its case on circumstantial evidence. The circumstances that have been accepted by the sessions Judge.

While relying on The Supreme Court Judgment Ram Lal Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh it was observed that “there is no absolute rule that an extra-judicial confession can never be the basis of a conviction, although ordinarily an extra-judicial confession should be corroborated by some other material.”

While allowing the appeal the learned court opined that “that it is not expedient or in the interest of justice to rely upon the retracted extra-judicial confession. Hence, the Session Judge, Rourkela has committed error by accepting the alleged extra-judicial confession made by the appellant.”

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